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Sounwave Says The ‘Black Panther’ Soundtrack Drew Inspiration From A “Massive” Playlist Of South African Music

“We even ended up scrapping great songs with big-name features on them.”

With Black Panther breaking box office records, the film’s soundtrack also continues to be a big hit, recently spending a second week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Frequently Kendrick Lamar collaborator Sounwave co-produced nearly every song on the soundtrack, and in a new interview with HitsDailyDouble, he explained how Kendrick, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, and himself put the project together.

According to Sounwave, a huge playlist of South African music served as a major inspiration for the project:

There were a variety of reasons why each artist was picked, from Kendrick, Top Dawg and I already being fans of the artist to finding the right person to match the emotion we were looking for, and also a lot of studying different kinds of music. We were listening to a massive South African playlist for months, straight to where we became big fans of the sound and culture. And that was an important part, because we wanted to go inside their world to get an organic sound, sonically and emotionally.

Although the majority of the soundtrack is made up of U.S.-based artists—a fact that some have criticized—there are several South African musicians featured. This includes Saudi, Yugen Blakrok, Sjava, and Babes Wodumo; Senegalese singer Baaba Maal also makes an appearance. The film’s composer Ludwig Göransson recently explained to Genius how traveling around Africa on Baaba Maal’s tour inspired the score:

As Sounwave explains, there were many artists considered or contacted for the soundtrack whose features didn’t end up working out. “We had to attack things differently from our usual album format because the story line was already created for us to follow, which allowed us to tap into elements we normally wouldn’t do,“ he said. "We were also on a very strict time limit, so all through the DAMN. Tour, Kendrick and I would hop right offstage into the studio bus, creating different ideas from beats to hooks. We even ended up scrapping great songs with big-name features on them because we couldn’t clear things in time or they didn’t fit the overall concept, but it all worked out at the end.”

According to HitsDailyDouble, the Black Panther soundtrack has earned a combined 225 million streams from Apple Music and Spotify since its release, and moved nearly 300,000 copies, too.

Listen to the project above and catch up on all the lyrics to Black Panther: The Album on Genius now.

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